Sales leads are too important for just salespeople (round two)

I posted on this topic last year and have gotten a lot of feedback (online and off). Brian Carroll and others extended the conversations so I thought I’d revisit the topic with some more thoughts.

Every salesperson loves leads. And marketing people spend lots of effort providing them. But too often, there's an artificial demarcation between the role of sales and that of marketing. This is especially true in B2B marketing where sales leads often go into a sales bucket never to be marketed to again. (What a loss).

Think about the average corporate web site. There are usually only two steps. A visitor goes to the site and there is a "contact us" form or some sort of offer (maybe for a white paper). In most companies, that "lead" is passed over to sales and is often ignored as a "crappy lead". The worst thing is that in most companies, no additional marketing happens at all to that person. What a shame.

The best thing when someone expresses interest via your site is to send them additional appropriate web content. A podcast or ebook perhaps. A link to your blog. A subscription to your email newsletter. Customer case studies.

Salespeople may argue with me, but I think it is better at the early stages of the buying process NOT to pass names to sales unless the buyer is absolutely ready to move forward. Having a salesperson call too soon disrupts people’s consideration process and it diminishes the value of a web content marketing effort.

Great information delivered online about answers to buyers problems will push people along gently. Then in future initiatives, "buy now" or "contact a salesperson" will deliver the mythical GOOD LEAD that salespeople want rather than the CRAP LEADS that they all complain about.

Of course it's the salespeople's job to follow-up on the leads. But you might consider how you can integrate marketing with sales by, say, sending each of your tradeshow visitors an appropriate thank you offer such as a free trial of your service or a complimentary download. Maybe add the sales lead to your email newsletter list.

Break down those walls between sales and marketing!

David Meerman Scott

Subscribe to Email Updates